In January 2015 I wrote the first chapter of The Gaia Effect. It had a different title at that time and that was all I had, one chapter - no plan, no idea, no clue of what would happen next. The chapter made it through to the finalist stage of a local writing competition so I then had seven months to complete the book. And complete it I did. I came second.
The next step was to get an agent so I researched and refined query letter after synopsis after query letter and sent out to 50 agents. I had a lot of positive no thank-yous which was strangely encouraging. I had one request for full manuscript. The feedback was brief but negative. There was still work to be done but now I was uncertain how to move forward.
Then I had more good news from Barking & Dagenham Library service. They would pay for The Gaia Effect to be published by New Generation Publishing, a self publishing service for independent authors. I knuckled down and made a huge editing sweep of the book - I cut all my darlings. I recorded the book and listened to it chapter by chapter which was actually incredibly helpful. There are still bits that I wish were better than they are but there comes a point when you just have to let it go and move on.
Manuscript submitted, typeset checked, cover artwork approved. And with that the book is done and sent to the printers. It will soon be made available for anyone and everyone to buy, read and *gulp* review. What should I be doing now?
It turns out - a whole hell of a lot. BooksGoSocial has some very interesting training programs about direct marketing and using email marketing which gave me a great starting point. I have a huge list of bookmarked websites to go through and there are a lot of social media platforms on which I have little or no presence. Did you know that Pinterest is the 3rd largest social media site? And that something like 85% of the users are women. That's good for my book. I need an author Pinterest board. And apparently book trailers are a thing. So I need a YouTube channel. And a mailing list. And an email newsletter. And more twitter followers. And I need to plan a book launch. And go through nine pages of notes in my A4 notepad. Turns out just being able to write a book in the first place is the easy part.